Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Mercury Prize shortlist 2008

People love to flaunt their opinions as loud as possible. The chat rooms are already buzzing with both positive and negative voices on the short list for this years Mercury prize, which is awarded in September. As with everything subjective, there are not two similar points of views. Which, I suppose, makes all these kind of prizes unnecessary.

Anthony Hegarty from Anthony & the Johnsons, who won in 2005, put it quite nicely when he called it "a crazy contest between an orange and a spaceship and a potted plant and a spoon - which one do you like better?"

Anyways, I think this year shortlist is quite exciting. But that’s of course my subjective opinion…

>Adele - 19

>British Sea Power - Do You Like Rock Music?
>Burial - Untrue

>Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid

>Estelle - Shine

>Laura Marling - Alas I Cannot Swim

>Neon Neon - Stainless Style

>Portico Quartet - Knee-Deep in the North Sea

>Rachel Unthank & The Winterset - The Bairns

>Radiohead - In Rainbows

>Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Raising Sand

>The Last Shadow Puppets - The Age of the Understatement

The Mercury prize was initiated in 1992 as an alternative to the more mainstream BRIT Awards but there are always some well known, chart friendly albums in the mix as well. Previous such winners include Artic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand and Ms Dynamite. But Mercury has also rewarded more underground artists, such as Roni Size, Dizzee Rascal and PJ Harvey. In 1994 the gave the prize to M People instead any the Britpop nominees, provoking a big national Who?

Radiohead and The Last Shadow Puppets will probably slug it out this year (in that case, Go TLSP! ) but I’m more excited about the prospect of Burial winning, even though the famously shy artist would prefer not to. And the Robert Plant/Alison Krauss album is absolutely amazing. I can’t believe I left it out on my Best of 2007 list. British Sea Power, who made my list, needs some recognition. Their third and nominated album, is their best to date and they have so far, luckily, evaded mainstream success.

As always, there are a few acts on there I have never heard of (Portico Quartet, Rachel Unthank & The Winterset) but that’s alright, it just means there are more good music out there to discover!

So I say Yes to BSP, Burial, TLSP, Robert Plant/Alison Krauss, Maybe to Elbow, Neon Neon, Radiohead and No to Adele, Estelle and Laura Marling. I just noticed that all my No’s are girls…that means nothing. I really like girls…honestly, I do. Just not those girls…

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